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Regulatory immune cell diversity tempers autoimmunity in rheumatoid arthritis
Date:5/8/2012

of death.

While the exact cause of RA is unknown, the Caton laboratory and others have shown that a variety of white blood cells called regulatory T cells (or Tregs) are a necessary component to either restrain (or encourage) the immune system's inflammatory response. Tregs are activated as molecules on their surface membranes called T cell receptors interact with "friendly" or "self" moleculesa way for the immune system to recognize friend from foe. Mismanagement of these Tregs, which normally serve to restrain the immune system from over-reacting to healthy tissue, could then lead to runaway inflammation.

In this study, the researchers sought to examine how T cell receptors affect the ability of Tregs to suppress arthritis in a mouse that had been bred to express a "self" molecule that drives arthritis. They showed that an array of Tregs given to the mice effectively stops arthritis. Unexpectedly, however, Tregs that are specific for the surrogate "self" molecule do not prevent arthritis.

"We find that the Treg responsible for recognition of the disease-initiating self antigen are sufficient for stopping arthritis, but a diverse repertoire of Tregs are very effective," Caton said. "All of these Tregs, together, influence other components of the immune system which serves to slow down the inflammatory process that causes RA."

According to Caton, their findings also point to a possible answer of why the immune system targets the membranes that line joints. Tregs influence other types of T cells to produce a substance known as IL-17, and these cells often travel through the body's lymphatic system where they then drain out into the joints.

"The big unanswered question of RA is 'why are joints targeted?'" Caton said. "Of all the tissues in the body, of all the places our immune system could attack, this question remains."

"One idea is that the immune system isn't deliberately attacking joints in patients with rhe
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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